Cultured fruit; growing a tomato without a plant

Great progress has been made in developmental biology in recent decades. In animal biology this has led to the advent of ‘lab-grown meat’. (Also known as ‘cultured meat’). We have proposed ‘cultured fruit’ as a sustainable technology for industrial fruit production. A 4-step process for cultured fruit will provide proof-of-concept using tomato as a model species. 1) plant “stem cells” (meristem) are multiplied, 2) flowering is induced in the meristem by introduction of proteins, 3) fruit-set is induced using phytohormones, and 4) fruitlets are grown in a bioreactor. This results in a complete fruit that is indistinguishable from its plant-grown counterpart. You will work on step 1 or step 4 of this process. A shoot multiplication protocol for tomato needs to be optimized for step 1. For step 3 we need to run tests by growing excised tomato flowers in a bioreactor. Experience with tissue culture will come in very handy during this project. When working on step 4, affinity with technology is also a prerequisite.

Used skills

  • Tissue culture
  • Possibly sugar analysis
  • Possibly elemental analysis
  • Possibly gene expression analysis
  • Electronics (prior experience not mandatory)

Interested in doing a BSc or MSc thesis at HPP? Please contact the HPP student coordinator Katharina Hanika.